Walker Coonfield had many friends in the community of Pratt, especially in skate board and bike trick circles. He died September 5 at the age of 20, and friends and family gathered to remember him on Saturday at the Loren Minnis Park near South Main Street. They held a balloon launch in his honor.
Family and friends of Walker J. Coonfield gathered Thursday at the Loren Minnis Park on South Main in Pratt to share memories, tears and stories of the 20-year-old who died Thursday, September 5 from accident injuries.
"Thank you all for coming," said his father, William Coonfield. "Walker would have loved this."
More than 200 people of all ages, many with bikes, skate boards and scooters took part in the balloon launch at the end of the service that sent red and blue balloons skyward with penned with messages like pedal hard, freedom, and fly high.
Prior to the balloon launch those in attendance could sign a bike frame in his honor. An open mic gave those who wanted to share a place to express their thoughts about Walker and his life.
Walker was remembered for his ability to "one-up" the competition, whether it be skateboard or bike tricks, but more so, his friends recalled his ability to make others smile, laugh, and feel better about themselves.
Youth pastor of the Reach Church, Brady Seidel, said he was amazed by Coonfield's skateboard and bicycle abilities as well as his positive attitude in face of difficulties. He was a Christian who had accepted God in his life and was always working to improve his own life as well as those around him.
Coonfield was injured on Friday, August 25 around 12:05 a.m. when Pratt County EMS received a report of a person bleeding from his head and unconscious. A personal vehicle drove Coonfield to the Pratt Regional Medical Center and he was later transferred to Via Christi, Saint Francis Hospital in Wichita.
Though critically injured he stayed alive for 10 more days, during which his brother was released from jail and was able to visit him. Coonfield leaves behind many friends and family members, including a 9-month-old daughter who was present at the balloon-release memorial service at the park Saturday.